UPDATED: $80 Million Medicaid Shortfall

Aaron Flint posted on February 15, 2011 11:26 :: 1439 Views

Yesterday on our statewide radio talk show “Voices of Montana,” we broke the news that Montana would be seeing an $80 million Medicaid shortfall that will force the Governor to revise his revenue estimates.  (Listen to audio from State Senate President Jim Peterson and Speaker of the Montana House Mike Milburn below.)

Lee Newspaper’s Mike Dennison confirmed the news with the Governor’s office, adding this story last night:

The Schweitzer administration says another $80 million will be needed to cover the costs of Medicaid for the next two years, after it re-evaluated caseload numbers for the state-federal program that pays medical bills for the poor.

Now, with three days remaining until the panel must complete its recommendations on the state human-service budget, it must figure out how the increase fits into that picture, said its chairman, Rep. Don Roberts, R-Billings.

Roberts said making room for another $22 million in state spending on Medicaid may make it difficult for his subcommittee to add back other spending that has been left out of human service budgets so far, such as cuts in tobacco-prevention programs.


This may be the story driving the day out of the Montana Capitol.  I just wrapped up a live show from Senate President Jim Peterson’s (R-Buffalo) office along with Speaker of the House Mike Milburn (R-Cascade).  All the talk in the hallway before the show dealt with an $80 million Medicaid shortfall that was announced to Republican legislators in Helena this morning.  I am still awaiting confirmation from Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s (D-MT) office, but this news comes as the Governor and Republican legislators have been debating revenue estimates and how much to cut from the budget.   The Governor says he presented a balanced budget, while the GOP says the Governor’s budget ignores an expected $300 million-plus revenue shortfall.  Sen. Peterson says the news of this Medicaid shortfall “confirms our suspicions,” while Speaker of the House Mike Milburn added- “you can’t spend optimism.”

Here’s what Peterson had to say:

Click to Listen

 Milburn’s “you can’t spend optimism:”

Click to Listen

 Click below to listen to the full interaction with Milburn and Peterson on this morning’s “Voices of Montana.”

Click to Listen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *